I am a grown man and it’s about time I started acting like one. That’s something along the lines of the conversation I may hold with the stranger staring at me in the bathroom when shaving. Regardless, I find myself seeking some sort of sign or omen that I have, in fact, not only changed but progressed over the past several years of my short yet seemingly significant existence. My journey for some kind of achievement worthy of even that title is a work in progress however for Self Help Records and its short existence as even a Bandcamp url, they have perhaps completed their first significant goal; releasing one kicka$$ compilation of everything one loves about the surreal and sweaty underworld that is the DIY music scene in Philadelphia.
A hodgepodge of the sentimental mixed with the heavy, the elegant mixed with the euphoria, the Philadelphia Comp. 2013 features everything and everyone from Girl Scouts to Grower, Mumblr to Jet Set Sail, and Mallard to even Travis‘ (of Self Help Records) own Ted Nguyent. If you’re familiar with the acts then frankly, you’ve probably already heard of this release and ideally have secured yourself a cassette or, at the very least, a digital download of your own. For those of you who haven’t, well here’s the best introduction to the truly local Philadelphia music scene that you’re gonna get.
For under $5, don’t be a cheap skate. Yes, it’s available for free streaming online but if you want any hope of further awesome releases like these being available in the future, then go ahead and buy it. To address the obvious: yes, this article is clearly vastly late. In case ya couldn’t tell, I had other things on my mind. Better late than never? I think that’s an expression, that or an excuse for one hell of a lazy individual. The larger point is simply this: the Philadelphia Comp. 2013 by Self Help Records is not only brilliantly organized, but also recorded and mastered in a truly awe worthy manner. Listen and enjoy.
Eureka the Butcher, the solo pseudonym of Marcel Rodriguez-Lopez (of Zechs Marquise/The Mars Volta) releases his debut album today! The recording, Music For Mothers, is dedicated to Frances Sarah Rodriguez-Lopez, Marcel‘s mother who passed away last year. In regards to the dedication, Marcel writes that “she is the reason why I started playing the piano. She told me that it was great that I wanted to play drums, but if I played the piano, I could create music and play to a room full of people by myself. I didn’t start playing drums for another 4 years, and I wouldn’t start playing piano for another 7 or so. That’s when I started making electronic music. Making music under the Eureka name gives me that ability: to make music.”
Made while on tour with The Mars Volta and Zechs Marquise, the project progressed in buses, vans, planes, dressing rooms, airports, hotel rooms, backyards, sidewalks, and what I can only assume was a couple of really dingy dive bars. Music for Mothers is intended to serve almost as a testament to the idleness and boredom which inevitable lingers while on the road. While the album was intended as a therapeutic journal of sorts, the music is specifically intended “for all mothers…for all families. I hope that it will inspire other people to make music for their mothers, fathers, sisters, and brothers… if my mom hadn’t pushed me to learn other aspects of music, I would be sampling records and it wouldn’t be as rewarding to me. Sampling records properly is an art form in itself, but i knew it wasn’t for me.”
As far as the act itself, Eureka the Butcher is a barrage of sound, chopping and slicing bits and pieces of rhythms of the larger Rodriguez-Lopez including The Mars Volta. Marcel explains to Fusion Magazine that the name “comes from the nature of editing; the Butcher part from cutting up sound, chopping up beats to make up new things; the Eureka part comes from when it all comes together.” With a collage of psychedelic samplings and prog-rock meanderings, I’d say that name fairly sums up the experience in an elegant manner for those scared of the emotional connection explanation provided earlier. You can snag your copy of Music For Mothers via Rodriguez Lopez Productions and be sure to check out all them social network sites below to figure out what the hell they’re up to. Here’s to mothers and great music: who would’ve guessed they’d be hand in hand?
Eureka The Butcher – Sargent House
Eureka The Butcher – Tumblr
Eureka The Butcher – Twitter
This, ladies and gentlemen, can be taken as a shameless plug. Be that as it may, I am delighted to have Dissociative Identity Productions write on The Philly Underbelly, an online blog/resource for everything going on within the DIY & otherwise Philly music scene (or best captured by their own motto, “By the Scene. For the Scene.”) An irreverent intake of all that makes Philly off, The Philly Underbelly‘s launch signals a, well, neat f’in’ method of knowing what the hell is going on without desperate phone calls and emails to ‘that guy I meet once at a show’ to figure out the details.
Founded and designed by Joe, Tom, & Elgin (last names not necessary, mkay?), The Philly Underbelly includes just about every DIY show and likewise around Philadelphia. From the constantly-busy folks of The Guild to the Clown Can Country Club boys, it plays a one-stop-shop (if there were any shopping to do…?) for what Philly provides best: mainly, grundgy and sweaty ass shows for the chaos neutral delinquent at heart. Mosh in a basement lit by Christmas lights or do that weird thing awkward people do with head bopping to that band your friend really likes but you don’t care for, frankly, it’s not my concern. What is my concern, however, is for you to check out an awesome piece of work from some folks you should really get to know.
Umm… that’s about it. Like/Follow ‘The Philly Underbelly‘ in whatever format you see fit. Now you have no excuse. Get yourself to a show and have a good time: you deserve it.
The Philly Underbelly
The Philly Underbelly Facebook
The Philly Underbelly Twitter
“Excellently skewed, arty rock, like Sonic Youth and Liars colliding.” — NME
Ten Kens, the Toronto based ethereal artrock group, is streaming their entire forthcoming album, Namesake, a week early via the massive Canadian entertainment conglomerate, Exclaim! This is also in conjunction with their recently released video from Namesame for the song “Gently Used“, which is presented by Tiny Mix Tapes and available above. Finally, to give you a probably way over the necessary dose, the video for “When A Door Opens” also premiered via Consequence of Sound. which, you guessed it, is also available above.
Released after two years of nerve racking tranquility and a sophomore album glow, the aptly titled Namesake moves the band away from their signature genre-bending dither into a more darkened psychedelic day trip experience. The result of an intense yearlong recording period and masterfully engineered/produced by Ten Kens‘ own Brett Paulin and Dan Workman, the band jumped from one recording facility to the next in order to find each individual sound which makes this whole. Apparently, the band enjoys disappearing “into complete isolation to keep their vision focused and devoid of any outside influence” which may come across from just the first 2 mins of “Gently Used“.
It is this insidious exploration, though, coupled with an almost ambient prog rock, that makes Namesake such an experience as for as an album. An abstract art-piece constructed from the remains of decaying genres, Ten Kens’ Namesake is an unapologetic trance of post-rock meets prog rock with a whole lot thrown in between. Basically, it’s beautiful. Grab a download or don’t be stingy and grab the vinyl (Release Date: May 21, 2013, if it’s a great album, it’s a worthwhile buy and yes, Namesake is a great album). Here’s to hoping a tour is in the works.
Happening Now by Grrrl Friend
In Sociology and Cultural Anthropology in particular, there’s a theory called the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis. An infamous theory for intellectuals of the field, it describes how language is not simply how we communicate with others around us: it is, in fact, largely how we see the world. A primary example in their research was the comparison of Western time to those of the Hopi Indians. While our society may have the past and the future, to the Hopi, everything is simply one: we do not necessarily live in the present so much as we live in the past, present, and future all in the same moment. Another way to understand this theory, though, is to simply take a listen through Portland’s own Grrrl Friend and their recent release, “Happening Now“. It’s a confusing experience, to say the least, yet not a negative one. At times, you may feel as though you’ve bumped into the bastard cousin of The Jesus And Mary Chain and Sonic Youth. By the next song though, you’re looking at a mind trip the likes of Avey Tare pairing up with “They Threw Us All in a Trench and Struck a Monument on Top” Liars. Yeah… confusing, yet it is at this moment that I find it prudent to bring up Liar’s own, “Drums Not Dead“. Clearly, it was an album in left field for their previous work: there was always a hint of that side of their music but never enough to define. All the same, it emerged and it proved to be one of Liar’s shining moments. Grrrl Friend took a big risk with this album: they avoid the traditional formula’s of garage-pop punk bands like the plaque in exchange for an all together bizarre interpretation. Bizarre but brilliant. Take a listen through the whole album to fully appreciate my comments and grab a cassette even (because come on, it’s awesome to see cassette releases still out there). Language alters our reality, a point Grrrl Friend understands all too well. Case and point: “Happening Now“. Listen, Share, Enjoy.
Grrrl Friend – Happening Now
Dissociative Identity Productions
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I used to be a member of the cult known as Pitchfork. It was helpful: after all, it’s hard to argue that they are always necessarily on top of everything. For example, they’ll tell you the “Best” albums of the year and many of them, at least in my opinion, are self-absorbed, masiqistic, and dissident to say the least. Yet I’ve recently started falling in love with one of Pitchfork’s sister sites, Altered Zones. They supplied me with the info on Zorch’s release/tour (thoughts on that one) and now, they provide me some of the most shocking news all month: Flaming Lips are working with Lightning Bolt?! Now yes, I get it, both are legends in their own right in the experimental genre. Yet I could not have thought of a weirder combo: perhaps, Xiu Xiu and Chinese Stars but other then that, few other experimental pairs come to mind. So I took a listen and yeah, keep in mind, I’m not a big fan of Flaming Lips (guess it never really felt relevant to me). Um yeah… it’s a really kickass tune, giving elements of each side to create a harmonious whole. You can clearly tell the thrashing percussions of Lightning Bolt in the background, giving it a wild side I have never seen Flaming Lips come even close to. Yet the lyrics and vocal style actually contributes a lot to the song and frankly, I know it’s probably due to the Flaming Lips influence on the project that so much structure seems evident. This structure is extremely important to simply keeping the song together, opposed to flying off the handle like a usual Lightning Bolt song, and similarly, it is an example of structure and form that I believe Lightning Bolt was never able to touch before on their own (perhaps, on purpose) Overall, I doubt this project will turn into much: after all, both have a very respectable fan base and. reputation to live by. Yet I hope this bluntly strange encounter will leave behind an influence on one another. There is no doubt that they never needed to do this song, or to even work together one little bit. Yet they did: so do not waste this opportunity. Each has it’s own expertise, now it’s time to start blending the pallet. Color toning: it’s what real artists do. Be sure to check it out needless to say, I’m now even more excited for whatever piece they will release on their own. Experimental noise? Sounds interesting.
Flaming Lips and Lightning Bolt Collab
Dissociative Identity Productions
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